Saturday, December 26, 2009

Easy Entertaining: New Year's Eve

We hope you all had a terrific holiday! Now that Christmas is over and the gifts have been unwrapped, I am starting to think about New Year's Eve! We have dear friends coming into town so I wanted to add some fun little touches to our table.
I am thinking about a fun and vibrant Parisian-themed hors d' oeuvres table (think fun French dessert plates and jewel-toned accents) and thought of the perfect mini-project: whimsical fringed drink stirrers.

Here are directions for my easy-peasy project:
1. Find some curious and fun stir/swizzle sticks or straws (mine happen to have spheres on top) and pick out delicious paper to accent; I am using vellum as it bends well and holds shape

2. Cut paper from an 8.5" x 11" sheet in strips - about 1" x 8.5" is perfect

3. Tape one end of the paper to your swizzle stick or straw
4. Fringe each strip
5. Tightly wrap the paper around and around your swizzle stick and tape the loose end

6. VoilĂ 

Enjoy and have a very safe and fun New Year's!
*Please email us photos of your take on our DIY project!

Monday, December 21, 2009

Sparkling cranberries

I love the glittering look of these little cranberry gems (thank you to my mom for finding this recipe!). Add them to a gourmet cheese board for a pop of sweetness and tartness or add them to a glass of bubbly - string three through a stir stick and drop in a champagne glass for a festive flair. Enjoy! Aleah*Sparkling Cranberries
For the simple syrup, raw cane sugar or real brown sugar lends a nice molasses flavor to the cranberries, but regular granulated sugar (or a blend of brown/white) will work.
2 cups cranberries, picked over
2 cups water
2 cups sugar (see head notes)
More sugar for coating: I do a mix of medium-grained organic sugar for the first coating, and then a second toss with regular granulated white sugar. Place the cranberries in a medium glass bowl and set aside.
Make a simple syrup by bringing the water and sugar just to a simmer in a medium saucepan. Let the syrup cool for a couple minutes and then pour it over the cranberries. If the syrup is too hot the cranberries will burst, so be careful. Cover and refrigerate overnight.
The next day, drain the cranberries and toss them with larger grained sugar until they are well coated. I only use a scoop of sugar at a time, and small batches of cranberries, so the sugar doesn't get too damp. Place the coated cranberries on a baking sheet to dry for a few hours.
Do a second toss with the regular granulated sugar, this typically takes care of any sticky spots on the cranberries. Let dry another hour.
Makes 2 cups of sparkling cranberries

*Recipe from: www.101cookbooks.com
It's nearly time; I love getting decked out for the holidays - my sparkly baubles and feathered hair pieces come out to play!
Here are some adorable Anthropologie pieces mixed with.....Forever 21 accessories! It's all about mixing and matching quality pieces with less expensive accessories for a fabulous look. Enjoy!

From left to right 1. Wrapped in ruffles Anthropologie cardigan - $128 2. Feathered headband $4.80 from Forever 21 3. Sequined fingerless gloves - Forever 21 $4.80 4. Demi-sequined cardigan from Anthropologie $128 (pair with jeans or a ruffled black skirt)

5. Flower headband $6.80 Forever 21 6. Pearl + ribbon bracelet Forever 21 $$4.80 7. Felt lei cardigan (perfect for Christmas brunch) Anthropologie $118 8. Complete outfit by Ann Taylor - Top $85 and pencil skirt at $118

These little accessories also make for fab stocking stuffers or last-minute gifts!

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Color Splash: blush pink and black

It's no secret that I love anything and everything French! I was looking through photos of our last European trip and wanted to put together an inspiration color board based on a photo of the Eiffel Tower I took at dusk. Gorgeous!

From left to right: 1. Croquembouche from Martha Stewart 2. Personal photo of the Eiffel Tower 3. Veuve Clicquot Rose from VeuveClicquot.com 4. Gorgeous confection gown from J. Crew Weddings
5. Burlap Paris pillow from Etsy's Petit Coterie 6. One of our bride's J. Crew gold sandals - photo by Kate McElwee 6. Delicious cake from an open house at Hotel Monaco - photo by Laurel McConnell
7. Paper goods on Etsy - The Shabby Boutique 8. Lovely baubles by J. Crew

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Jackson Design + Remodeling Holiday Party, Part II

On Sunday we did a sneak peek at an incredibly fun holiday party we designed and coordinated for an awesome San Diego company, Jackson Design + Remodeling. Here are the juicy details (and my very non-pro pics!):

We had so much fun planning the bash and even more fun watching the guests mingle, use the photo booth (with wacky props!) and get a private show from a magician! Even better; when the owner, Todd Jackson gave away those amazing gifts! Seriously - the entire event was a great success and a great part of our holiday season!

Our cookies!

We brought on some amazing hors d' oeuvres from the French Gourmet (yum!) - like prosciutto puffs, caramalized onion pastries, gourmet cheeses, mini Reuben sandwiches, bitesized turkey and cranberry sandwiches on little cornbread muffins, and many more goodies. Nick and I baked about 12 dozen pengiun and snowflake sugar cookies which are always a hit at our parties!

We created 9 oversized birch tree displays with the perfect wintry, sparkly ornaments and magical blue upligting. Lounge furniture was brough in my Concepts and frosted icy plates and other rentals were provided by Classic Party Rentals.

The showroom at Jackson Design + Remodeling is really incredible - I am in awe of their kitchens and baths on display, so we didn't want to cover anything. We wanted to showcase their great work so we clustered sparkly branches, vases brimming with blue and silver ornaments, and the birch arrangements and placed them around the showroom. We even had a family of oversized penguins and a polar bear on display!
Todd Jackson wanted a really fun and unique activity so Joel Ward, a really cool magician, was brought in from LA. He did some really out-of-this-world tricks (Nick and I are still debating on how he did what he did!) and kept the audience amazed. Check out his site below- you can see a clip he did on the Bonnie Hunt Show!
Each detail came together in a fun, cheery, and very wintry way! Thank you, Jackson Design + Remodeling, for bringing us on board!
Happy Holidays,
Aleah + Nick
Event Planning + Design: The Good Life Event Specialists
Magician: Joel Ward
Lounge furniture: Concepts Party Rental
Winter animals: San Diego Event Decor

Monday, December 14, 2009

We know that this holiday season might be a bit tighter for some so we wanted to lay out a few guidelines on who you should tip and whether to tip cash, homemade holiday cookies, or a gift basket.
Here is a short list of who you might want to provide a holiday tip or gift to:

  • Your postal worker who delivers your mail day in and day out, rain, sleet, or shine! They can't accept cash tips, so how about a hand-written thank you note with box of homemade holiday cookies (anything under a $20 price tag) or a great coffee box with beans, biscotti, and a mug?
  • Anyone who provides you with continual service such as a hair stylist, manicurist, florist, or personal shopper can be given a cash thank you or a gift basket (think gourmet goodies with a nice bottle of wine) - up to $75. Keep in mind they make you look good so showing your appreciation is a good thing!
  • Garbage and recycling drivers - a cash gift up to $25 or home-baked cookies or a large travel mug with gourmet cocoa mix
  • Any home workers you might have like gardeners, housekeepers, cooks, etc. can be offered a cash tip up to $50 each or also a homemade gift basket
  • Anyone else not mentioned like your dog groomer, doorman, or anyone else who provides you with a service on a regular basis can also be given a gift card or a cash gift from $20-50 or a homemade gift. A doctor or dentist can be given a written thank you note (gift not needed)

While these are merely suggestions, be sure to enclose a thank you note to each person you tip or gift this year. Let them know how much you appreciate their great service!

Happy Holidays, Aleah + Nick

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Awesome Holiday Bash - Jackson Design + Remodeling

We were hired on by Jackson Design + Remodeling to design and coordinate their 2009 holiday party last night. Complete with a famous magician, oversized polar bears, and sooo many fun details, it was a smashing success! Todd Jackson, the owner, is a totally generous and awesome boss - he went all-out and gave away a Kindle, iPods, a weekend getaway, and all sorts of goodies to his people and this party was really a thank you for 2009's hard work. Nick and I were so impressed with the kindness and generosity this year.

We are swamped today with restocking our design goodies, but more photos and details will come!

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Nick's Picks: Being a Thoughtful Groom

A large percentage of proposals happen during the holidays, which means that some of you might be holding onto that little box containing a hand-picked engagement ring, waiting for that perfect holiday moment to pop the question.

Proposing to your significant other and planning your big day should be something to remember for all of the right reasons. Grooms-to-be can jump-start the planning process by doing some legwork pre-proposal (yep, in addition to picking out a ring!). Contact some wedding vendors ahead of time and check them out. Feel out their style; check out wedding planners - visit their sites and blogs to see if you like their work or if you think your bride-to-be would love their style.

Check out or make a list of some perfect venues that might have some significance to you and your bride. Do a bit of research and see how far out each venue is booked and what their guest capacity and food and beverage minimums are like. Most of our clients come to us needing a venue and a date; dive right in and enjoy the start of your engagement by putting some thought into the first steps of planning. Then sit back and enjoy being engaged! Your bride will be excited to be engaged but she'll really appreciate the time and thought you put into getting the ball rolling! Nick

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Color Splash: icy blue, copper + gold

While mixing metallics can scare people, the end result can be super fun and oh-so unique! I made these JOY cards for our Etsy Holiday Collection and really loved the color combo so I took it a step beyond to create a color splash board using the color palette.

I would actually love to see this used year-round - for winter weddings or holiday parties using oversized gold ornaments, icy blue fabrics, and glittery copper accents would be stunning.
For spring or summer weddings, let the blue shine through in the table cloths and bridesmaids dresses. Punch up the tables with gold chivari chairs and copper place settings. It's okay to mix and match!
For fall events, lean more towards gold and copper as your primary colors and punch colors of icy blue as napkin or programs.
The end result will be scrumptious!

*photos from a couple of our past events; I Do shoe shot and invitations by Alex Studios
Canada Dry box shot by Laurel McConnell
Two linen samples from La Tavola
Top right scrumptious sandwich photo by Urban Unveiled

Monday, December 7, 2009

New Additions to the Collection! Sparkly baubles for the holidays!

At only$15 each, these handmade sparkly bib necklaces are the perfect gift for wives, girlfriends, moms, and friends! They can be customized to suit favorite colors (or eyes!) and if ordered this week will arrive just in time for her to wear with that little black dress during the holidays! Please email me: info@goodlifeevents.net or visit our Etsy shop (you can also pick up some of our customized holiday cards!) - Click here to shop

How to be a gracious guest

It's that time! Holiday party season is here and (following our popular "how to be a gracious wedding guest" post) we wanted to share some tips on how to be a gracious holiday party guest.

I. Bring a hostess gift that's easy to open or use at the party. While flowers are always sweet, don't present them to your host/hostess unless they are already in a vase or perhaps a poinsettia that's potted (though keep away from kids and pets). While flowers are such a nice gesture, the last thing your host wants is to have to scramble to find a vase amidst a bustling party.

II. Bottles of wine or champagne are always great gift or you can opt for less expensive sparkling beverages like cava (from Spain) or prosecco (from Italy). Usually about $10 a bottle they are delicious! Of course, cookies and other party food are also great items to bring to parties as your host can display the goods immediately.

III. Most hosts and hostesses know that you are making a stop in between other holiday parties but don't rush out the door! Stay and mingle, visit with your hosts, and enjoy the food and drink they put so much effort into. After all, the holidays are all about good company, friends, and family.
Happy Holidays,
Aleah + Nick

Friday, December 4, 2009

Jennifer and Steve are such as sweet couple - we're really looking forward to their destination wedding at Loews Coronado in July.

A few weeks ago they spent the afternoon in Santa Monica with the super-talented Joseph Llanes for engagement photos. He and his awesome wife Jenny make up Llanes Weddings and do some amazing work! I love these photos!!

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Happy Anniversary, Eugene and Michelle!

Eugene and Michelle were married in a beautiful beach ceremony in Puerto Vallarta, Mexico last December. They had a super fun reception with lots of dancing, food, and great company!

It was a great wedding week filled with fun events - there was so much for the guests to do both in town and at the resort. From the guest room gifts bags (with an itinerary, flip flops, and snacks) to a scavenger hunt and in-town activities, the guests were well taken care of!

The wedding reception was awesome - Eugene and Michelle choreographed their first dance like nothing we'd ever seen and everyone danced into the night.
Happy Anniversary!

Eugene's brother enjoying the view


Related Posts with Thumbnails